Biography of a Mexican Crucifix: Lived Religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present

Paperback | February 10, 2010

byJennifer Scheper Hughes

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In 1543, in a small village in Mexico, a group of missionary friars received from a mysterious Indian messenger an unusual carved image of Christ crucified. The friars declared it the most poignantly beautiful depiction of Christ's suffering they had ever seen. Known as the Cristo Aparecido(the "Christ Appeared"), it quickly became one of the most celebrated religious images in colonial Mexico. Today, the Cristo Aparecido is among the oldest New World crucifixes and is the beloved patron saint of the Indians of Totolapan.In Biography of a Mexican Crucifix, Jennifer Scheper Hughes traces popular devotion to the Cristo Aparecido over five centuries of Mexican history. Each chapter investigates a single incident in the encounter between believers and the image. Through these historical vignettes, Hughes explores andreinterprets the conquest of and mission to the Indians; the birth of an indigenous, syncretic Christianity; the violent processes of independence and nationalization; and the utopian vision of liberation theology. Hughes reads all of these through the popular devotion to a crucifix that over thecenturies becomes a key protagonist in shaping local history and social identity. This book will be welcomed by scholars and students of religion, Latin American history, anthropology, and theology.

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In 1543, in a small village in Mexico, a group of missionary friars received from a mysterious Indian messenger an unusual carved image of Christ crucified. The friars declared it the most poignantly beautiful depiction of Christ's suffering they had ever seen. Known as the Cristo Aparecido(the "Christ Appeared"), it quickly became one...

Jennifer Scheper Hughes is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at University of California, Riverside.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.79 inPublished:February 10, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195367073

ISBN - 13:9780195367072

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Table of Contents

Note on Translation1. Introduction: The Iconography of Suffering2. "Christ Appeared": Material Religion and the Conquest of Mexico3. Performance and Penance: The Cristo and Christian Evangelization in New Spain4. The Cristo Comes to Life: Lived Religion in Colonial Mexico City5. Repatriation: Christ Comes Again to Totolapan6. The Red Bishop, the Cristo, and the Aesthetics of Liberation7. The Gentle Devotions of a Rebellious People: The Phenomenology of a Santo8. Beauty, Affection, and Devotion: Fiesta at the Dawn of a New Millennium9. Conclusion: The Gospel According to TotolapanNotesBibliographyIndex